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MMD > Archives > December 1997 > 1997.12.10 > 07Prev  Next

Playing Expression Rolls on a Pumper
By John A. Tuttle

Hi All,  Beth Ann writes:

> Can anyone out there tell me if reproducing rolls can be played
> on a regular player piano?   My father was told that he could, so
> I thought I would put the question out to you all and see what you
> have to say.

The most direct answer to your question is "YES", you can play
expression rolls on a regular player piano.  HOWEVER, since the vast
majority of expression rolls utilize the last 4 or 5 holes on the left
and the right sides of the tracker bar as a signal path to the
expression devices, extraneous notes will be played every time the
expression codes pass over the regular note holes on a standard player
piano.  However, there are at least two ways to get around this
annoying problem.

The first way, which is very quick and non-permanent, is to take a
piece of scotch tape (the thinnest possible) and simply cover the first
and last five note holes on the tracker bar.  That's it.

The second method, which is permanent and might require the services of
a player technician, is to disable the first and last five notes on the
player mechanism by "pinching off" the tubes that lead to those note

It is also possible to manufacture and install a switching device so
that you could turn the first and last five note holes 'on' or 'off'.
But compared to the cost of two pieces of Scotch tape, it hardly seems
worth while.

John A. Tuttle (

Key Words in Subject:  Expression, Playing, Pumper, Rolls

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